Do You Need An Electricity Refresher?

Many of my classmates in high school were like me schooled in a five year academic program which did not include much in the way of technical education. So if you have been like me – a little fuzzy about how electricity works, I found this guy on Youtube who in the space of a few minutes explains the general theory of how electricity enters our homes, including details of the transformer windings on a pole outside somewhere near to you, and a thorough “grounding” (pun intended) on grounding and wiring at your main panel. Electricity is a big subject, but if you want to understand it a little better, this is the best relatively brief explanation I have found anywhere. I must add that my father and my grandfather on my father’s side were electrical engineers, but it didn’t rub off on me until my later years when they were both gone. So I now have to turn elsewhere for answers….

As a professional photographer I realized early on I needed a more in-depth understanding of electricity. We are dealing with high voltage flash equipment and location worries at times. Are we going to blow the client’s fuses is one such worry that kept me up at night. So here is a great video which explains in a good amount of detail the basics of grounding at the mains panel.

If you need a refresher on electricity, recall that a very basic  understanding which helps is the realization that some materials at an atomic level (conductors – e.g. copper) give up their electrons (free electrons) relatively easily, while other types of materials (insulators – e.g. wood, rubber) bind their electrons much more tightly. At the generator stage, copper conductors are passed through a magnetic field which frees up electrons – the basis of creating electric charge and electromotive force (volts). This process creates equal and opposite electric charges – positive and negative.  You can go more in depth than this on your own of course!

* This video is © Benjamin Sahlstrom